Son of Sevenless (SOS) was discovered in Drosophila melanogaster. Essential for normal eye development in Drosophila, SOS has two human homologues, SOS1 and SOS2. The SOS1 gene encodes the Son of Sevenless 1 protein, a Ras and Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor. This protein is composed of several important domains. The CDC25 and REM domains provide the catalytic activity of SOS1 towards Ras and the histone fold DH/PH (Dbl homology and Pleckstrin homology) domains function, in tandem, to stimulate GTP/GDP exchange for Rac. In contrast to Ras, there have been few studies that implicate SOS1 in human disease and, initially, less attention was given to this gene. However, mutations in SOS1 have been reported recently in Noonan syndrome and in type 1 hereditary gingival fibromatosis. Although, there have been very few studies that focus on the regulation of this important gene by physiological or exogenous factors, we recently found that the SOS1 gene was induced by the environmental toxin, dioxin, and that this effect was mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). These recent observations raise the possibility that alterations in the expression of the SOS1 gene and, consequently, in the activity of the SOS1 protein may affect toxicological endpoints and lead to clinical disease. These possibilities, thus, have stimulated much interest in SOS1 recently. In this article, we review the functions of SOS1 and the evidence for its roles in physiology and pathology across species.
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